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White Worms
Jamie March 06, 2003

Okay everyone, here is my White Worm "How-To-Go-About-It" Guide.

These are a very handy and easy-to-keep live food. The worms grow to about 3 cm, though when harvested there are a variety of sizes down to 1 mm.

Some people keep their white worm cultures in the fridge which is a good way of keeping the ants out, but this slows down their reproduction rate, as they seem to thrive best at about 12 - 20 C.

The method of housing your culture depends on the quantities you will require, but for convenience over a long period I find that ice cream containers without lids are the best. Half fill the container with a mixture of garden soil, course sand and shell grit, moistened so that it is just damp.

Into a hollow center of the container place about a teaspoon full of starter white worm culture (I don't know where you are going to get this from, try the local fish store and they may be able to order it for you if they don't have it). Cover this with a piece of glass about 3" square.

Place in a cool, dark, insect-free place. I use a polystyrene box with a couple of inches of water in the bottom and a loose-fitting lid and keep in a shady spot. The water keeps the ants out and keeps the culture cool in summer (make sure that the container doesn't touch the sides of the box, otherwise the ants will be able to get in and ruin the culture).

After a day or so, feed the worms by placing a teaspoon full of food in the center under the glass. After a few days the food should all be gone and from then on replace it as it is eaten.

As the population builds up over a space of about three weeks, more and more worms should be evident in the center as the food is eaten. You can start to harvest the worms when there are enough balled up in the center to take out a lump of them. I clean the soil from them in 2 cups of dechlorinated water, just tipping from one cup to the other to remove most of the soil.

As with any live food breeding, it is best to maintain at least two cultures at a time (I do in case one crashes).


Suggested foods for white worms are:
  • Wet rolled oats
  • Cooked rolled oats (porridge)
  • White bread dampened with milk
  • Baby foods
  • Fish food (flake)
  • Cooked pumpkin

(Any of the above or even all of them in rotation)

Milk should only be used occasionally and in small quantities as it will sour the soil. If the culture gets too wet, feed with dry products or turn the whole lot out onto some newspaper and then mix in some dry soil/sand/shell grit and start an extra culture.

If the culture dries out the worms will die. If it gets too wet, hard, or sour the worms will leave home. If you see them crawling up the sides of the container then you know that conditions are not to their liking and they will be gone in a flash.


Hope that helps.


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